I Will Teach You To Be Rich
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297 of 322 people found the following review helpful
on March 23, 2009
First, here's what this book is not: It's not your parents' money management and investing book, although as a parent I wish I had done in my twenties what Ramit Sethi tells the twenty-somethings they should be doing right now.

Ramit starts with the premise that most people are so overwhelmed by the sheer amount of financial information available that they just shut down and do nothing. So Ramit tells you exactly what to do with your money and why. Want to know whether it's smarter to pay extra on your student loans or put that money into your 401(k) instead? Ramit will tell you. Want to know some specific financial companies that offer the low-cost index funds you should invest in through your Roth IRA? Ramit will tell you. Do you not even know what the heck an index fund is? Ramit will tell you!

Ramit also tells the truth about brown bagging your lunch and curbing your latte habit; and the truth is that these actions on their own are virtually pointless. Instead, you should go after the big wins, like getting the lowest interest rate and the best price on your next car because you have impeccable credit and negotiated "like an Indian" (negotiation scripts included).

Ramit maps out exactly how to get from where you are now to where you want to be financially, including how to create a personal money management system that practically manages itself. Ramit's system starts with a no-fee checking account and an online high-interest savings account. (He even tells you which online bank he uses.) He then walks you through setting up automatic bill payments and regularly scheduled transfers to your investment accounts. Throughout, he includes easy-to-understand charts, as well as short pieces by other personal finance bloggers.

I wish I could quote some of the passages that I found especially useful or entertaining--Ramit writes with an appealing, if oddball, humor--but I have already mailed my copy of the book to my 24-year-old son, who called me last night to tell me it never would've occurred to him to ask his bank to waive an overdraft fee. (That gem is in chapter 2, I think.)

Thank you, Ramit! I hope this enthusiastic review by an "old person" will not stop the young people from buying your book!
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308 of 341 people found the following review helpful
on June 29, 2009
I Will Teach You To Save Money, though a far less titillating title would be the more appropriate name for this book. 20 and 30 somethings are the intended audience for this book. And for them the book is delightfully irreverent and saucy in its language. You will not get rich by using the concepts in this book however you will gain basic financial literacy, which is the first step on the path to creating wealth. There are no new financial revelations in this book. If you already have a personal finance library you can pass on this book. If you don't already have one and are looking for a place to start, this book is a great way to go. I Will Teach You To Be Rich is not for people who have created a measure of wealth and are looking to increase it. For that you will have to look elsewhere.
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136 of 169 people found the following review helpful
on July 28, 2011
In two and a half years all of the "high yield interest bearing" accounts online have diminished. Author recommends you put your savings online at ING, which at writing had 3%+ interest bearing now has a measly 1%. He recommends you have a checking account with Scwab online, who at the time of writing was 3-5% interest, is now, get ready, 0.05%!! This was helpful 2.5 years ago, now is meaningless. You may as well put your savings in a credit union with a similar rate of return (around 0.5%) and you will have access to it immediately instead of waiting 3-5 days for a transfer in case of an emergency.
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29 of 34 people found the following review helpful
The book is good, especially if you aren't following the authors blog. Unfortunately, if you are following the blog you will find little new information here. Ramit Sethi does have a nice writing style and uses great examples. Highly recommend this book to people who don't have a computer.
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128 of 162 people found the following review helpful
on January 28, 2013
Nowhere on the front cover does it mention that this book is about teaching 20 year olds the basics of financing. I'm closer to 40 and already know all this stuff, a waste of my time. I thought he was going to teach me to be rich (like the title states). Here is the books itinerary:

IN WEEK 1, you'll set up your credit cards and learn how to improve your credit history (and why that's so important).

IN WEEK 2, you'll set up the right bank accounts, including negotiating to get no-fee, high-interest accounts.

IN WEEK 3, you'll open a 401(k) and an investment account (even if you have just $50 to start).

IN WEEK 4, you'll figure out how much you're spending. And then you'll figure out how to make your money go where you want it to go.

IN WEEK 5, you'll automate your new infrastructure to make your accounts play together nicely.

IN WEEK 6, you'll learn why investing isn't the same as picking stocks--and how you can get the most out of the market with very little work.
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158 of 204 people found the following review helpful
on March 28, 2012
Ramit says he bought a car by faxing car dealers the best offer he could find and then asked them for counter offers (a "bidding war"). He writes that one car dealer sent him an offer for a new Honda with $2000 of list price "an unheard price discount for a new Honda". When he walked in the car dealer the conditions of the deal changed (as it always does when you walk into a car dealer) and although the price stayed the same, the interest rate was much higher for financing the car as it should have been (the car dealer said he did not have enough credit history, although his credit was "excellent" as Ramit states). Ramit foolishly agreed to pay a higher interest rate than he should have because "the price was so good".

That is a common mistake made by "beginners" who do not understand that car dealers often make more money through financing than through the car sale itself.
Ramit did a few things right to be fair. What he failed to do was either to get a loan from a nearby credit union right away and finance the car through them or to make a significant down payment at the car dealer. The latter is important to later refinance your car at a local credit union since otherwise the value of the car would be lower than the loan itself. Local credit unions almost always have 2-4% lower interest rates than the car dealer (if you have good or "excellent" credit as Ramit)...

I cannot believe Ramit failed to mention this and tells people to make the same mistake he did... (unless he is getting paid by the car industry to write this). A Honda with $2000 off, but with a 2-4% higher interest of a 5 year loan can easily mean he only "saved" $500 of MSRP. Not too good, actually pretty bad.

I purchased a Hyundai $6000 under list price just when the new model came out and the car dealer told me the same thing Ramit was told "that I would only qualify for a higher percentage loan because of lack of credit history"... I made a $2000 down payment at the car dealer and 3 months later I refinanced the car for just 2.99% at a local credit union which saved me another $1500.
Two years later the Kelly Blue Book value of my used car with 20,000 miles on the car is still higher than what I paid for it new at the car dealer...

My tips for buying a new car for a great price:
- Buy the old model when the new model already stands on the car dealer lot (happens every 4-5 years)
- Buy a "show car / demo car" that people test drive before buying the car at the dealer. The show car I bought had ZERO (!) miles on it (was never driven) but could be sold even cheaper because the car dealer also gets it for less from the car manufacturer. Also, show cars have full warranty because the car is considered new even if it has a few hundred miles on it.
- Do not fall for the financing trick at the car dealer! Did you know that General Motors in the last years made more money from car financing than from selling cars?

I had to share this because I feel like Ramit does not really understand how car dealers make you believe you got a good deal and you still paid too much for it...

In general, his book has some good advice. but if you have already read one or two financing books before you will find no new information in his book (maybe his writing style makes it a little bit more fun to read).
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30 of 37 people found the following review helpful
on May 16, 2009
Q: Can you learn the things that Ramit talks about in other books or even on-line? A: YES

Q: If you are already a money genius will this book help you? A: MAYBE

Q: Is this the only book you will ever need to become wealthier beyond your wildest dreams? A: NO

I'm writing this review mostly because of my frustrations with the *very few* low one star ratings on this book, I hate it when people in their one star reviews admit that the product they are reviewing is actually not that bad.

Anyway, many of the things that Ramit teaches/outlines in this book are common sense things that all of us should be doing, but either forget or never motivate ourselves to do.

The thing I like about this book is that it does not just talk about theory, but actually outlines action items and next steps. Goals without deadlines are just pipe dreams, this will inspire you to action. Within a few moments of picking this book up I started to save money, not because the book is magic, but because it made me take action and stop and look at my finances.

Even if you can only get one idea from this book that will save you more than $10-15 how can you rate it lower than 5 stars? The book is FREE to you!

Is the name misleading? MAYBE - but you have to admit, it is good marketing, it makes you take a second look. This is what ALL marketers do from the toothpaste and shampoo lane in you local super-mart to the car lots you pass on your way to work everyday.

Q: Is this book for everyone? A: NO - and I think Ramit would be the first one to admit that. If you are looking for a get rich quick scheme, go somewhere else. If you are looking at getting off your lazy butt and doing something to change your current circumstances, BUY THIS BOOK! Worst case scenario is that you can pass it on to a friend who needs it, and they will love you because THEY saved more than $10-15 bucks.

I like the way it is written (it does target a younger audience, but does not leave everyone out). Ramit has a sense of humor and did, at a very young age, what many people only dream about doing - he published his own book!

Way to go man! I salute you!
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30 of 37 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon March 23, 2009
In the last two weeks I've read three finance books to keep me from having a nervous breakdown every time I turned on MSNBC: 1) The WSJ Guide to the End of Wall Street by Dave Kansas; 2) Suze Orman's 2009 Action Plan, and; 3) I Will Teach You To Be Rich by Ramit (pronounced "Ra-meet") Sethi.

Ramit's is by far the best of the three for my purposes (I'm 26, have a job, don't really know what I'm doing w/money, but I love compound interest and try not to be stupid).

This book is worth its weight in gold and here's why:

First, it's targeted to a younger demographic (guessing 18-34, aka the FOX demo), and his advice is much more detailed and specific than the other books: giving readers detailed options for setting up high interest online savings accounts; breaking down renting vs owning; showing you how to save hundreds a month without budgeting ("Budgeting is the worst word in the history of the world") but by spending consciously; figuring out how much a $250 ipod really costs when charged on a CC w/14% APR ($297), and much, much more.

Second, Ramit is very funny and tells good stories. He doesn't talk down to the reader, or say that it's not our fault that we maxed out our credit cards on DVDs and 14 subscriptions to Vibe. Instead, he tells it like it is (for example, "If you miss a credit card payment, you might as well just get a shovel and repeatedly beat yourself in the face.") He's like Dr. Phil, if Dr. Phil weren't a doctor and instead was a skinny Indian kid.

I especially appreciated Ramit's attitude about the Starbucks rule being BS, and that instead of obsessing over lattes, we should focus on the big wins like improving our credit scores. Another valuable distinction he makes is between stupid and conscious spending. Scrimp on unnecessary expenses so that you can spend lavishly, consciously and w/o guilt on the things that really matter to you (nice pens, vacations, expensive stuff for babies, etc.)

Third, this book is well-organized into a 6-week action plan. Of course, it will take more than that to get out of debt, build retirement savings, raise credit scores, etc., but the 6-week schedule will put you well on your way to achieving your financial goals, big and small.

Overall, I walked away from this book with a much clearer understanding of my spending, and a much more functional relationship with my money. My only regret is that it wasn't published sooner, so I could be compound awesome. This is a MUST for every college student, post-grad, young professional, you get the picture. Truly, one of the best, most useful books of its kind, for any generation.

[I originally wrote this review for the Kindle version -- Amazon doesn't have the link set up correctly yet, so if you want to buy on Kindle, just search for it under the "Kindle Books" category]
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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on May 15, 2009
Ramit is a unique individual and his personality shines through. This book's primary strength is its voice. He speaks very clearly and consistently, and in a very conversational way. He has street smarts and a genuine interest in people, and those qualities are endearing.

But in terms of content -- overwhelmingly, the book feels as if it were a term paper written by a college student who did nearly all his research on the internet. Given the "advice from the blogosphere" out-takes, that may be literally true. From cover to cover we are bombarded with factoids lifted from blogs and online calculators (often from a web site called "dinkytown"). Not to mention plugs for Ramit's own "peanut butter" wiki service.

There are references to dead tree sources as well. Where by references, I think it's fairer to say that very much of the book's advice is directly lifted (often without credit) from the Random Walk book. Were it actually a collegiate term paper, Ramit might find himself in hot water!

That's not to say Ramit's advice is bad. On the balance it's great advice for his audience -- people who are literally starting from zero financial knowledge. Unfortunately I don't think Ramit gives his audience enough credit for their intellectual curiosity. For example, he makes weighty assertions, breathlessly, about the quality of professional financial management and the fallibility of experts. Then he proceeds to back up his views with ... many quotes and citations from financial experts (including the aforementioned Random Walk book, among others).

Overall, this is a fine practical book for "getting started." Ramit's system for automating savings is pretty innovative and well worth a try. But honestly, I hope that for those of you starting at financial zero, that this isn't the only book you read. Once Ramit drills into you the importance of your savings and investing habits, I hope you also realize that a financial life requires a watchful eye and intellectual curiosity -- we are talking about the systematic accumulation of millions of dollars, here!
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on October 30, 2011
Mostly for people who want somebody to tell them exactly how to manage their money so they can spend less time out of their life in that pursuit (most readers of personal finance blogs can count themselves out of this group)

I found the author's writing style a bit condescending as well, for a large part the book reads like one of the "for dummies" series.

As an example of what I was expecting from the book:
- To learn more about saving tax using investment vehicles like the Roth IRA and 401k. As part of living in California, tax is a substantial portion my expenses (40%!!).
Ramit simply commands you to "Pay your taxes, it is your civic duty"!!

- Diversify my investments to beat the pitiful albeit "safe" returns that index fund based investing offers. Don't get me wrong, I believe index funds are great and I use them as the base of my portfolio but I was really looking for some more ideas.
Ramit makes huge generalizations like "Real estate investing is highly risky. Individual stocks are risky! Stick with index funds in your 401ks and your Roths for all your investing"

While I was obviously not the target market for this book and I can see how the getting out of debt chapters might be useful to a lot of people, I feel this book is mis-labelled. It doesn't teach you how to become rich, it teaches you the basics of personal finance.
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